Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins


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Excessive stimulation further desensitizes dopaminergic neurons, and the compulsion snowballs. In some of his experiments, Wang asks his volunteers to come hungry. He then torments them, asking them to describe their favorite food in detail while he heats it up in a microwave so that its aroma wafts through the room. When these miserable souls go into a positron-emission tomography PET scanner, Wang sees the motivation regions of their brains go wild. Parts of the orbital frontal cortex, which is implicated in decision making, also light up.

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In the brains of obese people, the regions that regulate sensory information from the mouth and tongue are more active, suggesting that overweight people may experience the sensations of eating differently. Other research shows that their reward sensitivity is lower. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and other areas involved in inhibitory control are underactive; the heavier the person, the lower the activity there.

For the gluttonous, neuroscience offers moral absolution. After all, St. Thomas Aquinas asserted that a sin must always be voluntary, or else it is not really a sin. Mere laziness seems out of place among the deadly sins. It helps to know that this moral failing was originally conceived of as acedia , a term that suggested alienation and tedium, tinged with self-contempt.

Acedia afflicted jaded monks who had grown weary of the cloistered life. Their sin was turning away from their moral obligations and toward selfish pursuits—a monastic form of ennui.

Today, paralyzing lassitude is often seen as a symptom of disease rather than of turpitude. Apathy is a classic sign of frontotemporal dementia. In this neurodegenerative disorder, the frontal lobes of the brain are slowly eaten away, causing social and mood changes as well as cognitive decline. Patients with such dementia often become increasingly withdrawn. Sadness and listlessness are also hallmarks of major depression. With frontotemporal dementia the symptoms are caused by dead and dying cells; in depression the root cause is still unknown.


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In both conditions, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex has an unusual pattern of activation. Related to its ability to inhibit impulses, this region has a role in sustaining attention over the long haul. Abnormal function in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex might be connected to the lethargy associated with both conditions. Conversely, activity in this area may keep a lid on negative emotions; in some studies, depression lifted with stimulation of that part of the brain.

Indeed, psychologists say that arrogance is second nature in Western society. Most of us perceive ourselves as slightly smarter, funnier, more talented, and better-looking than average. These rose-colored glasses are important to mental health, functioning as a psychological immune system that protects us from despair.

For most of us, it takes less mental energy to puff ourselves up than to think critically about our own abilities. In one recent neuroimaging study by Hidehiko Takahashi of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan, volunteers who imagined themselves winning a prize or trouncing an opponent showed less activation in brain regions associated with introspection and self-conscious thought than people induced to feel negative emotions such as embarrassment.

We accept positive feedback about ourselves readily, Takahashi says. Righteous humility has traditionally been depicted as the virtue that opposes pride, but the work of Keenan and others calls that into question. He is using TMS to disrupt deliberate self-deprecation—the type of unctuous, ingratiating behavior that seems humble but is actually disguised arrogance. Patterns of brain activation during self-deprecation are fundamentally the same as those during selfdeceptive pride, Keenan is finding.

Despite the enormous pool of potential research subjects, greed has not yet been systematically investigated in brain research. However, neuroscience does offer insight into a related phenomenon, the indignant outrage of the cheated. Our hatred of unfairness runs deep, even trumping rational self-interest. One of two partners is given a sum of money and told that he must offer some amount of his own choosing to his partner.

If the partner rejects the offer, neither gets to keep any of the cash. On a rational basis, the receiving partner should accept any nonzero offer, since getting some money is always better than getting none at all. It makes sense that we are so sensitive to being cheated, notes Matthew Lieberman, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Commentary on Cicero De Divinatione 1.

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Divus Julius. In: Ihm M , editor. De vita Caesarum librum. See also Plautus Plautus.


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Poenulus or The little Carthaginian. In Plautus Vol. IV: The little Carthaginian. The rope.


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  8. Loeb classical library The underlying belief seems to have been that the deity sent auspicious signs by guiding the hand of the thrower in a particular way Graf Graf F. Rolling the dice for an answer.

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    Mantike: studies in ancient divination. The goddess Fortuna in Imperial Rome: cult, art, text. Texas : University of Texas [Diss. This association had the effect of cementing the loyalty of his troops and convincing the public at large of the inevitability of his military success and political supremacy in the Roman Republic Baldston Baldston JBVD.

    Sulla felix [Sulla the fortunate]. J Roman Stud. A risk taker, Caesar placed tremendous faith in his luck, which he attributed to his special connection with Venus Murphy Murphy P. Classical World. Divus Augustus. The fact that Sulla and Caesar built temples to Venus and Fortuna demonstrates how closely risk-taking, luck, and divine favor were associated in the Roman mind Murphy Murphy P. Gambling and enslavement. Dice games had become extremely popular by the end of the third century BCE even though gambling had been made illegal and the courts could no longer be used for the collection of debts Faris Faris S.

    Even so, the Romans perceived a link between gambling and bondage — both to those who bested them at dice games and to the whims of the gods generally Harnack Harnack A.

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    Der pseudocyprianische tractat de aleatoribus: die alteste lateinische-christliche schrift, ein werk des romischen bischofs Victor II seeculum II. Bishop of Rome. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. Gambling had the potential to ruin impressionable youths and even adults if they lacked the self-control to resist its lure Muse Muse KB. Worthless wastrels: prodigals and prodigality in classical antiquity. Gambling debts could induce people to forget their duty to their families and the state. Gambling was also associated with criminality Robinson Robinson OF. The criminal law of ancient Rome.

    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions - R. Scott Sullender - Google книги

    Aleator, gambler, was generally a term of abuse, and gamblers from the lower echelons of Roman society were lumped with pimps and prostitutes as a criminal element, and therefore fair game for harassment by officials Robinson Robinson OF. Prostitution, sexuality, and the law in ancient Rome. Aristocratic gambler-debtors in the mid-first century BCE felt they had little choice but to join the violent rebellion of the disgraced senator Catiline, a man who promised the cancellation of all debts Cicero Cicero.

    Second oration against Catiline.

    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions: A Fresh Look at the Seven Deadly Sins

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